Google+ Authentic Parenting: How To Deal With Parental Mistakes

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How To Deal With Parental Mistakes

As parents, we are bound to make mistakes. First of all, we live in a culture where we don't learn to deal with children before we have our own. Secondly, when you take an alternative route, there's a lot of unlearning and a huge deal of information to be acquired. It is only logical that you don't 'know' everything right away.
Making mistakes as a parent is he hardest thing, because it involves this tiny influential human being and you can't have a do-over. It can be easy to fall into a guilt trip. That's not a very healthy road to travel. Guilt is one of the most erosive, numbing emotions, and it's certainly not beneficial to parenting.

Mistakes do not have to be regarded as negative, as they hold a fruitful opportunity for learning. In order to learn from our mistakes and to keep from repeating them, there are a few steps to take.

The first step is to recognize the mistake, the sooner, the better. If you are doing something that doesn't feel right, or makes you or your family members miserable, it is most certainly not the right course to take. Stop and do something else. If it is a mistake that happened in the past, due to misinformation or carelessness, recognizing it is still a first step.

Analyze where your mistake came from, what you need to learn to not repeat it. WHat you could have done better or differently.

Accept that you are flawed and that you are only learning. This is a journey, and there are no perfect parents. Accept that a mistake has been made and cannot be undone, but look to it positively: you have analyzed the specifics that made up this mistake, so you are a stronger parent when you encounter a similar situation.

Apologize. No matter how small your child is, it is important that you apologize for your mistakes. Even if they don't quite grasp the words you use, they assimilate that nobody is perfect. When you apologize, you bring yourself down to their level, instead of acting like a demi-god who is entitled to anything and everything. Your child ses that you are only mortal and you are learning too.

Move on. Even though you shouldn't forget the mistakes you have made, it is important not to linger on them. Look at the present and live now. Now is the time to make up for past mistakes. There is always another change. Fretting about mistakes in the past won't make them go away.

We can't hope to become parents who never make mistakes, but we can hope that our mistakes remain small and insignificant in the big picture.



  1. I love how simply and practically you lay this out. Practical and valuable advice!

    I love your new look as well ... I'm not certain how new it is since I'm hooked on reader, but it looks great all the same!

  2. Thanks.
    I only installed the alterations yesterday, so it is pretty new. Thank you :)

  3. Love it, especially the accept and apologize steps. Some people are allergic to apologies, even training their children not to apologize "because they don't mean it". Folks, learn to mean an apology when it's your fault. Own up. Your children will learn to have good character too.


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